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The Elite Praetorian Guard of Supreme Leader Snoke
In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Supreme Leader Snoke has six to eight guards. These are Snoke’s personal guards and they’re all different. They are basically redesigns of Emperor Palpatine’s Royal Guards with their own spin. These guards are called Elite Praetorian Guards and they all have different weapons like nunchucks or double-bladed fighting sticks. They all have different helmets and fabric ornamentation but the core armor set on the chest and the arms appeared to be the same to me. The chest and the arms being the same really gives them all a sameness while allowing them to have some individuality. They also have red boots on that is obscured on the particular guard we’re discussing today.
When I first heard about these guards I was told it was uncertain by most if they would have any action in the film. Since then I have been told they will have an action sequence in the movie. It almost seems like at first they were just going to stand next to Supreme Leader Snoke in his palace and then after the interest in them picked up they were actually given something to do. But that’s just the way it seems now and I might be wrong about the evolution of their presence in the film.
The Electrified Weapons of the Praetorian Guard
The Elite Praetorian we will show you today has a halberd-type weapon with an electric field along the blade not unlike Captain Phasma’s Executioner Stormtroopers. It basically has very similar technology with the pink energy for deflection or maybe even cutting. The Executioner Stormtrooper weapons have an energy that is very spitty with sparks flying past their shoulders from what I’ve seen. The Elite Praetorian’s energy along the blade seems more finely tuned and elegant by comparison. (Well, maybe not exactly more elegant, just more like a blowtorch, more focused.) We don’t know if in the final film both weapons will have the pink electricity along the weapons or just the Pretorians.
Lumberjack Nick and I have teamed up to bring you a fantastic piece of his art that is insanely accurate for this particular guard. I chose this guard because he’s the furthest from the Emperor’s Royal Guard from Return of the Jedi and I wanted to show that this film is not just a rehash of things you’ve seen in previous Star Wars films. If you don’t believe me check out Nick’s art of an Elite Praetorian Guard:
The Electrified Weapons of the First Order
A Guess on the Design Process of the Elite Praetorians
Back in 2014 when I saw a ton of Star Wars: The Force Awakens concept art for Kylo Ren, there was a very medieval vibe to a lot of them. Lots of helmets in peculiar shapes and some of them had no visor or eye placements on the mask (you can see how weird it got by looking at the Guavian Death Gang dudes, who were not medieval at all). At the very least, these are a spiritual successor to initial designs for Kylo Ren.
It doesn’t seem absurd to think there’s a good chance the art for Kylo that was less than regal became some of the Knights of Ren. The more regal designs may have inspired the Elite Praetorian Guard in some instances or designs. If you painted the black helmet above red it would fit in rather well with the guards as they are right now.
You can check out the reveals Lumberjack Nick and I did for Captain Phasma with her staff, The Executioner Stormtroopers, and Kylo Ren here. We also teamed up to show you what the Porgs of Ahch-To will look like. Today we showed you what the Elite Praetorian Guards look like. And if you’re wondering, I did see one that has a visor not unlike Emperor Palpatine’s Royal Guards from Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi.
The question worth asking now is if these are “Elite” Praetorian Guards as I’ve been told they are: does that mean there are normal non-elite Praetorian Guards too? Does that explain the mystery of the black knights on Ahch-To or was that information not exactly accurate (even though we could see what appears to people in armor with weapons on Ahch-To in past videos)? Could these red guards have appeared black from a distance against the green hills of Ireland? It doesn’t seem likely. But we did see weapons from those sequences not unlike the halberd above. Does Kylo Ren take Snoke’s elite guards with him to capture Luke Skywalker and Rey?
I love how these designs push the look of this trilogy further along into new territory. It feels fresh. When you see these guys next to Snoke in his golden robes in his palace, I swear you’ll get chills because it rocks. The vibe I’m getting is that The Last Jedi is going to be the coolest of the new Star Wars films so far and the best is still ahead of us.